Time for another round of tasting notes on Tuesday! With at least one seasonally-appropriate beer in the mix.
With Easter coming up this Sunday this beer seemed suitably appropriate! Portland’s Alameda has been brewing this beer for a number of years now as a spring seasonal, under the unlikely style heading of “Imperial Cream Ale” and with a bottle label like that, how could you resist? Here’s what they say about the beer:
This is one naughty rabbit. With most cream ales ranging around 5% ABV, Bad Bunny is 8.2% ABV due to large quantities of Pilsner malt and candy sugar. Flaked maize and Czech Saaz hops also lend this beer a characteristic cream ale flavor and aroma while complimenting with a subtle spiciness.
Appearance: Murky-ish light copper in color, with a big pile of lacy foam (two fingers’ worth) piled up. A bit of sparkly effervescence.
Smell: Sweetly boozy. Peppery notes, one impression is “supercharged PBR”. I think the peppery mustard greens note comes from the higher alcohol; otherwise it’s like a big golden/cream ale.
Taste: Definitely has a boozy heat to it, and a spicy fruity character that might be yeast-driven just based on the gravity. It is what it is—take a cream ale and double the malts to boost it up to 8%+. There is something akin to a Belgian-style taste going on—I don’t know if it’s yeast or simply boosting the strength with sugars.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and lightly peppery-dry—a puckery thing going on.
Overall: Interesting and a bit gimmicky if I’m being honest, but why not?
Shiner FM 966 Farmhouse Ale
Shiner beer comes from the Spoetzl Brewery out of Texas (itself own by the Gambrinus Company), but unless you’re from there you may (nor may not) have only heard of Shiner Bock. They actually have a fairly broad lineup of beers and I found their FM 966 Farmhouse Ale at The Bier Stein on a trip to Eugene. They don’t mention it on their website that I see, but RateBeer had this description from the brewery:
A few centuries ago, during the cold winter months, farmhands in Europe brewed a ‘seasonal provision’ Farmhouse Ale to be enjoyed once spring rolled around. In the farmlands of Shiner, TX that tradition lives on. Which is why our tribute to this style uses Golding, Sterling and Meridian hops for a sweet yet lightly spiced flavor. Our incredibly refreshing farmhouse ale bears the name of the farm to market road just to the south of where our brewery has proudly stood for over 100 years.
Appearance: Pale, yellow, very clear; very effervescent with a sparkling white head.
Smell: Pleasant mustiness and phenolics with a spicy character that reminds me of whole coriander. White grape. Grassy and herbal.
Taste: Mild, wheat, pleasant with some herbal hops and spiciness but mellow. Feels like it’s striving to be inoffensive—it’s not bad, but I feel like they could have pushed the farmhouse/funky flavors more.
Mouthfeel: Lighter than medium-bodied, with a very clean finish.
Overall: It’s decent, and a nice clean ale for a large-scale, commercial attempt at the farmhouse style.
Two Roads Brewing is based in Connecticut, and I believe this beer was picked up in San Diego at the Beer Bloggers Conference last year—it was either a loose bottle claimed from the conference, or I picked it up at the Best Damn Beer Shop, but offhand I don’t remember which. At any rate, it’s a pumpkin ale that comes in at 6.8% abv. Here’s their description:
Roadsmary’s Baby is a traditional pumpkin ale with a Two Roads spin, it’s aged in rum barrels for added complexity and depth of flavor. The result is a smooth drinking ale with notes of pumpkin, spices, vanilla, oak and a touch of rum.
Appearance: Translucent amber-brown with a minimal head that falls quickly. Hazy.
Smell: Nice aroma—well-done pie spices that are predominantly cinnamon and cloves, and a lightly boozy spiciness from the rum barrel aging. Brown sugar sweetness and warmly rich.
Taste: Thinner than its appearance might indicate, with a bit of an astringent bite from the spices. Rum aging may contribute to this thin character. Vegetal squash flavor, along with well-attenuated maltiness. Spices, though astringent, are mellow.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, though thin feel on the tongue with a dryish, astringent finish.
Overall: Decent, the aroma is good but I feel like the taste doesn’t follow through on that aromatic promise.